Sunday, May 01, 2005

NAVSEA Employee's Perspective

My name is Peter Duffy and I am a GS-15, senior engineering manager at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI. NUWC is a component of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), which as most of you know Mr.Nanos led as a Vice Admiral before his retirement. I've attached a link to an article I wrote concerning my experience when I exposed, to the Naval Inspector General, corrupt behavior by several Senior Executive Service (SES) employees in NAVSEA, one who reported directly to Mr.Nanos. In the end the SESers were removed from the federal government but not until I was personally put through an ordeal that no one should experience for standing up and doing what is right.
Admiral Nanos had a responsibility to me, as the leader of NAVSEA, to ensure my welfare after reporting this corruption. He failed me and he failed his organization. I do not think it is a coincidence that he retired on the same day that the SESers, who were the subjects of my complaint, were forced out of the federal government. I was shocked when I heard that Admiral Nanos emerged in a leadership position at Los Alamos. I was appalled when I read that Admiral Nanos had called on Los Alamos employees to expose wrongdoing of their fellow employees at Los Alamos. I feared for the welfare of anyone who might do so.
Pete Nanos' scorched earth leadership style works because most people understandably fear taking him on. They know there will be a price to pay. He is the classic playground bully ... and your blog is rallying the students to surround the bully.
My best wishes to Los Alamos.
Peter L. Duffy

It is clear that LANL did not do due diligence in hiring Nanos and UC failed to do so in promoting him to Director.
Thank you. We know. We know.
Mr. Duffy's download took 20 min. on my computer, so here's a complimentary paste for the rest of you, With Pleasure. Thanks for confirming our hands-on reality and for many and others' suspicions, Peter!!!!
Principles of Ethical Conduct . . . The Ultimate
Bait and Switch
Peter L. Duffy
On October 17, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed Executive Order
12731, entitled “Principles of Ethical Conduct for Government Officers and Employees.” This order specifically requires all federal civil servants to “respect and adhere to the fundamental principles of ethical service” to include that “Employees shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities.” A little over ten years later his son, President George W. Bush, made a point to make his first presidential memorandum to the heads of all executive departments and agencies be on the subject of “Standards of Official Conduct.” In that memorandum, President Bush asked his heads to ensure “that all personnel within your departments and agencies are familiar with, and faithfully observe, applicable ethics laws and regulations, including the following general principles from the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch.” One of the fourteen principles of this executive order requires every federal
employee to stand up and be a whistleblower if the situation ever presents itself. What this order does not tell you is that this is the ultimate federal “bait and switch” trick.

On 18 August 2000, I took the bait by
submitting a complaint to the Navy alleging
executive misconduct by the top three
members of the Senior Executive Service
(SES) at my command. This was not an
anonymous hotline call. It was in writing,
sent certified mail with my “John Hancock”
at the bottom of the page. It also included
evidence to backup my allegations. I was a
GS-15 senior engineering manager and the
actions I took in reporting this misconduct
were by the book. It was an internal Navy
matter and I went to the “appropriate
authorities,” the Naval Inspector General
(IG). The allegations were made in confidence
because I believe in the presumption
of innocence. When the head of the Inspector
General’s Office for Special Inquiries
told me it would be difficult for them to
conduct this investigation and maintain my
confidentiality I immediately waived my
right to it. I did what was right and what was
expected of me and assumed without
question that I would be treated fairly by the
Navy. This was the first of a series of bad
assumptions on my part.

Over the next year and a half the Naval
IG conducted an investigation and wrote its
report. In the end, two of the three senior
executives retired the day before they were
due to be removed from federal service
because “the facts of this case suggest a
premeditated, conspiratorial effort to defraud
the Government.” The third executive
retired after invoking his “Fifth Amendment
right against self-incrimination” and
declined to answer any more of the IG
investigator’s questions. The scheme in
question allowed these executives to bank
their vacation time, which would then lead
to a huge financial windfall, at taxpayer’s
expense, when they retired. Banking their
vacation time however didn’t stop them from
still taking their vacations. These executives
annually took many weeks off, claiming it
was for religious observation. The estimated
retirement payout to these three executives
was $694,210. Much of this leave was taken
away from them upon their removal, saving
the U.S. taxpayer hundreds of thousands of
dollars. Subsequent investigations,
because the misconduct was more widespread
than I even realized, resulted in at
least four more members of the SES being
suspended without pay. This
was an unprecedented
number of disciplinary
actions against
members of the
federal government’s
elite SES Corps.

The switch
took place the
moment I submitted
my complaint to the
Naval IG, although I
certainly didn’t realize
it at the time. That was
the moment when I went
from dutiful civil servant to
institutional threat. This is because when
you blow the whistle on serious executive
wrongdoing you immediately create a
situation where you are perceived as being
potentially harmful to the very institution
you set out to protect. In this case the harm
comes in two forms.

First, it caused embarrassment to the
Navy leadership, the very leaders who were
at the helm when all this took place on their
watch. The misconduct in question had gone
on for more than seven years and took place
right under the noses of the admirals and
captains who were supposedly in command
of these activities. Additionally, independent
Navy audit teams with the charge to expose
waste, fraud and abuse conducted regular
command evaluations. Their efforts to
uncover this wrongdoing were about as
effective as the independent accounting
audits at Enron and WorldCom. Our
command received nothing but outstanding
reviews. By blowing the whistle, I not only
uncovered the executive misconduct but also
glaringly exposed the ineptitude of those in
charge and the failure of the protective
systems that were supposedly in place.

A second form of institutional harm is
the potential liability of the agency if the
whistleblower faces retaliation. This liability
derives from the Whistleblower Protection
Act (WPA), which purports to protect those
civil servants who have the courage, or one
could legitimately argue stupidity, to stand
up and expose corruption. What most civil
servants may not realize is that the WPA
only covers very specific personnel actions
taken against them. This law does not protect
federal employees against some of the
subtle, but no less effective, punitive
tactics that retaliators employ to
punish them for disclosing
their wrongdoing.

As a consequence
of this, once I filed my
complaint and
provided my evidence
and testimony, the
Navy lost no time in
abandoning me - even
though it was abundantly
clear that I was
vulnerable and working
in a hostile environment.
My whistleblower status was
actually exposed by a senior Navy
admiral when he betrayed to the most senior
of the accused executives that I was the
complainant. Once the IG interviews
started it didn’t take long for word to spread
throughout the activity that hunting season
was open and I had antlers. Inappropriate,
subtle offers of awards and time off that
were made behind closed doors quickly
turned into not so subtle threats behind
closed doors. To escape this situation I used
personal vacation “leave” time. Then, while
on leave and within 48 hours of the IG
investigators interviewing the subject
executives, my vacation time was backed out
and I was unknowingly placed on a “Leave
Without Pay” status. A coworker who
became aware of what was being done to me
was immediately directed not to contact me
or accept any calls from me. Six weeks
after realizing my pay had been stopped I
had to return to the same hostile environment
in order to restore my family’s income.
Additionally, as part of my return and as
further punishment for my actions, I was
forced to move out of my GS-15 office and
into a GS-12 cubical. My performance
evaluation, for the year in question, went
from the highest to the lowest with no
explanation. A tire on my brand new vehicle
was slashed in the parking lot. These were
all classic whistleblower reprisal tactics that
were meant to threaten, embarrass and
humiliate. Each and every one of these
incidents was reported to naval authorities at
the time they occurred. Each and every one
was ignored and the reprisals kept coming.
The switch was real. I had been disowned
and in the process the Navy leadership
involved abandoned the institutional values
they swore to uphold: Honor, Courage,

Now, let’s juxtapose the treatment I
incurred with that of some of the players
involved. The activity commander, who
authorized the stoppage of my pay was
transferred to a prestigious job in Washington,
DC and given a meritorious medal prior
to his departure. The executive director, one
of the SES members forced out of the
federal government, got to return three
months later as an announced guest of honor
at the same commander’s change of command
ceremony. The two most senior
executives that were fired now work for a
local defense contractor and at least one is
regularly seen around the campus he once
led. Three of the four senior executives,
who were suspended without pay, were
authorized by the Navy to work for private
contractors during their suspensions. Two
of them went to work for local defense
contractors supporting the very activity from
which they had been suspended. The
person who advised the senior Navy
officials to authorize these executives to
circumvent their pay suspensions just so
happens to be responsible for the ethics
program at our activity. Finally, several of
the subordinates to the removed executives,
who participated in the corrupt scheme and
who helped to facilitate its execution have
now been placed in some of the most senior
management positions at this command.

Numerous times throughout this
difficult ordeal I reached out to various
Navy leaders, both military and civilian. All,
with the exception of one, ignored my plight
and subordinated the principle of doing the
right thing to the Darwinian principle of
doing what is necessary to protect their own
careers. Only one, a member of the SES and
one of the few not involved in the exposed
scheme, came to my aid as best he could and
provided me with a safe harbor at a time
when I was in dire need. In the end the
corrupt scheme was exposed, the senior
executives were punished and preventative
corrective actions were taken. I survived a
battering that no employee should be
expected to endure. With my career in ruins
and after being subjected to seven consecutive
“120 day details” into meaningless
positions I agreed to move on to a two-year
Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA)
assignment at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. Never once, during this three-year
ordeal, has any Navy official ever
approached me to acknowledge, never mind
recognize, the sacrifice I made by practicing
the kind of ethical behavior the government
disingenuously promotes.

In the final analysis, the Government
needs to decide if they are truly going to get
serious about ethics. Our federal commitment
to ethics should not merely focus on
whether accepting a cup of coffee from a
contractor, pulling up CNN on your government
computer or being sure to disclose to
your supervisor that you own stock in IBM
is the ethical thing to do. Our federal
commitment to ethics should center on
individuals evaluating right and wrong and
choosing to do right. Lawmakers can’t
legislate it. Presidents can’t order it. The
development of this ability requires open,
honest discussion at all organizational
levels, about important issues that confront
us in the workplace. It must be done in an
environment where those that are critical
should not fear being beaten for having the
courage to question it. In the end we must
trust that the consensus of many consciences,
developed in an environment of
openness, will yield sound ethical courses
of action. In the meantime, until that day
comes, someone needs to put a warning
label on Executive Order 12731, “Following
this order may be hazardous to your career
and your health.”
Peter L. Duffy is a former GS-15 senior
engineering manager at the Naval Undersea
Warfare Center, Newport RI and is currently
serving on a two year research fellowship
with the MIT Securities Studies Program.
The views expressed in this article are his
personal views and in no way represent the
views of his employer the Naval Undersea
Warfare Center, the Naval Sea Systems
Command or the Department of the Navy.
from the clue dept. DOES keep connection records... posters here are NOT anonymous no matter what claims have been made to the contrary.

I suggest very strongly that entities needing anonymity at least think about installing TOR and Privoxy..


this comment was posted via that same system.

good luck
a somewhat anon user
If ever there were questions regarding the Anonymous postings on this Blog site Peter Duffy has answered them. Readers are encouraged to research the ARCHIVES on the Sidebar of this Blog. Numerous times over the last few months posters have questioned whether or not the director might be a serial bully. Now we know! There are some relevant Must-Reads in the archives concerning this issue.

Peter, you are a courageous and honorable man!Thanks for sharing your story with us out here in east LA. You will never know how important this information could be to all of us.

In our hearts we knew the truth was out there somewhere!
When one takes a stand for what is right, one is always subjected to an extremely unpleasant ordeal. It's too bad that so few of us have the courage to do it and endure the abuse. If they cannot attack the message, they will attack the messenger.
I smell a smoking gun.
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